Adelaide: The Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli faced its worst hour of embarrassment while collapsing to its lowest Test score of 36 as a rampaging Australia cruised to an emphatic eight-wicket victory inside two and half days in the opening Day/Night Test on Saturday.
There were no demons in the pitch but Josh Hazlewood (5-3-8-5) and Patrick Cummins (10.2-4-21-4) displayed fast bowling of highest quality to dismantle the visitors.
The sequence of 4, 9, 2, 0, 4, 0, 8, 4, 0, 4, and 1 on the scorecard will rankle the fans but more so this team, for a very long time.
“Very hard to put those feelings into words. We had a lead of 60-odd coming and just collapsed,” said Kohli, who would be heading home on paternity leave now.
India’s earlier lowest score was 42 at the Lord’s in 1974 against England, known in Indian cricket parlance as the “Summer of 42”. Saturday’s total was also the lowest score in the brief history of D/N Tests and the joint fifth lowest overall.
The easy target of 90 runs was achieved by the home side in only 21 overs without much fuss.
They only lost Matthew Wade (33) and Marnus Labuschagne (6) in pursuit of the easy goal and in the process, opener Joe Burns (51) got a confidence-boosting half century.
The home team collected 30 World Test Championship points from the win, while its skipper Tim Paine was adjudged player of the match for his gritty first innings knock of 73.
“I said this morning in the media that both these attacks have the ability to take quick wickets. Didn’t expect them to come this quick,” said Paine, grinning from ear to ear after the rather remarkable triumph.
India have now lost three successive Tests well inside three days with two being in New Zealand earlier this year.
To make matters worse for the visitors, star pacer Mohammed Shami’s series could well be over due to a wrist injury from a short ball from Pat Cummins, which could potentially be a fracture. Shami could not continue and the Indian innings was terminated at 36 for 9 in 21.2 overs.
The likes of Sunil Gavaskar and the late Ajit Wadekar had long carried the baggage of that English Summer, inarguably one of the worst in the annals of Indian cricket. It will now be replaced by the “Summer of 36”.
Call it irony, but just like Gavaskar then, a modern day great like Virat Kohli will have this bit of avoidable history in his legacy, a day when one could hardly figure out what went wrong.
At one stage, India were reduced to 26 for 8 and looked like equalling the lowest ever Test score (26 by New Zealand vs England ) but Hanuma Vihari’s boundary helped them evade entry into the dark pages of cricketing history.
The Indian batting was completely exposed by the extra bounce generated by Australian pacers, who bowled every delivery on the off-middle channel after landing on the seam.
In an inexplicable collapse, India’s much vaunted batsmen fell like nine pins with not a single one able to reach double figures.
Once nightwatchman Jasprit Bumrah (2) was out in the first over, Hazlewood and Cummins (10.2-4-21-4), literally decimated the tourists and also caused lasting damage to their pride.
The likes of Mayank Agarwal (9), Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (0) were all out in similar fashion.
All the deliveries were almost identical, angled in, which forced the batsmen to jab at them and just bounced a wee bit more. They deviated a shade taking outside edges to Tim Paine behind the stumps.
Kohli (4) was dismissed in the manner he used to get out in England back in 2014, trying to drive a delivery on the fifth stump and caught at gully.
To sum it up, the Indian batsmen
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